Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Line and Length

The cricket World Cup has come under a lot of pressure regarding the length of the tournament, only just recently did I here a regional sports presenter complain at the length of the tournament being 7 weeks too long. Some have said the format doesn’t help associate members in achieving an upset and qualifying for the knock-out stages.

The World cup I think this opening week has not helped itself, staging the opening matches with mismatch opposition does not give off a good first impression, a match of Sri Lanka vs. NZ or Australia on Sunday would have had viewing numbers up early, same with India maybe playing West Indies instead of Bangladesh, by doing this and having the associates playing each other would have started the tournament with a bit more buzz.

I also feel that playing 1 match per. a day is slowing the tournament down and partly the reason for it dragging out. Obviously you need to allow rest days for an event that requires players to play a day’s worth of sport, and you must also take into account TV viewing and sponsorship, to get around this you could have a ‘showcase match’ and 1-2 lower ranked matches all played on the same day. Also a 1-2 days rest is all that’s required for players these days, as was shown in the never-ending series recently played in Australia as England were forced to play almost back-to-back ODI. Australia has played its first match on Monday to play its next on Friday, why?

The group size is also an issue I feel, as it plays into the bigger nations hands, with less chance of a ‘minnow’ causing enough noise to get into the knock stages. The final 8 should and as far as I see stay as a knock-out, none of this Super 6’s rubbish get past your group and then survive the pressure cooker. Smaller groups would open up for closer finishers coming into the final matches as the pressure to force a win would see teams be much more attacking. Instead of spreading your 8 ‘Bigger’ sides in 2 groups, spread those over 4 groups of 4 and allow the top 2 to progress.

This World cup will have its moments, be them we all hope be great and memorable, and all this early discussion of the length and reinvention of the tournament will hopefully die down as the tournament gains momentum. As I type this The Netherlands have given England a task to chase, personally I think the Dutch have plenty of batting and not enough bowling, that said stranger things have happened, and with that said it is the beauty of cricket, that every ball is a match on its own, and every over needing to be conquered.

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